This painting has a wonderful story of hope that I'd like to share with you.
There are children, throughout the world, that are born into dark and chaotic times. It wasn’t something they asked for or even deserved. But even though their parent is immersed in terrorism, violence or horrible crimes, many dream of a better life and hope for good things they’ve yet had the chance to experience.
Such is the story of a woman I met in Germany. She was born into a horrible situation. Her father was a Nazi scientist, involved in unspeakable evil. Her early childhood in communist Eastern Berlin was filled with great darkness and shame that she didn’t understand.
She told me the story of her childhood memories of passing by a gate in the wall with the view of Groẞer Park. In the distance she could see a tall tower with what appeared to be a gleaming angel on top. It was a magical sight to her. As an adult she learned she was seeing Napoleon’s Victory Column at the end of the beautifully tree-lined Linden Straẞe in West Berlin.
That glittering point of light became a childhood beacon of hope to her. She just knew that there had to be good in the world, if only she could get out and find it. She would remember that golden flicker in her most dreary moments.
After her Mom miraculously escaped with the children, they moved to a free nation. She grew up taking every advantage she could to find good for her life. She met and fell in love with a wonderful and good man. They raised a family together and are still happily married. I know her as a very loving and thoughtful person, never dreaming of the ugliness she had endured as a child.
Every time I hear about evil acts that are committed throughout the world, I think of those families who didn’t choose the way of evil but are shamefully stained by association. I pray for their victims. And I include their loved ones; that they will find a beacon of hope and pursue it; that they will break through the darkness around them and find good.
This portrait of a sweet young child caught in a dark situation was very difficult to paint. I struggled to capture both the innocence of a child as well as the heaviness that was so evident in the photograph of her that I used as reference.